|(credit: Texas Stars)|
The game seldom seemed to be played at even strength, and the teams traded a whopping three penalties a piece in the first period. Tommy Thompson committed a minor infraction less than a minute into the game to give the Rampage the first man advantage. However, it was the Stars who wrested control as Colin Markison's cross-crease feed was tipped in by Austin Fyten to give the Stars the first of their two shorthanded goals of the game.
Andrew Bodnarchuk's holding penalty gave the Rampage their fourth power play a few minutes into the second period, and the Stars turned it into to an advantage again with another goal. Brian Flynn forced a turnover in the neutral zone and got the puck to trickle in past Ville Husso for the Stars' eighth shorthanded goal of the season. It was the first game of the year the Stars have scored multiple shorthanded goals.
From there, the Rampage scored four unanswered goals to steal the game. McKenna deserved a better fate on a fluke play that was set up by Blais a couple of shifts after the Flynn goal. Blais threw an errant shot off the end wall, and as McKenna came out to challenge, the puck hit him on the back and went in behind him to bring the Rampage within one.
St. Louis Blues first round pick Klim Kostin went down with an injury halfway into the game, and Samuel Laberge was dubiously handed a five minute major for spearing. Though they could've done better to avoid the penalty box, the Stars killed off the first six penalties they committed, but broke later in the third period.
On the fifth power play for the Stars seven minutes into the third period, Rampage winger Trent Vogelhuber evened the game up with a shorthanded goal for San Antonio as McKenna went for a poke check on the play and missed. Halfway through the period, Chris Butler gave the Rampage the lead with a shot that went off the post and in past McKenna. Blais had an assist on the goal for his second point of the night.
The Stars finally tempted fate one too many times, allowing a seventh power play of the game and giving up a goal to Alex Belzile. Husso ended the game with a decent line, stopping 25 of 27 shots.
The Stars complete their home and home set against the Rampage on Saturday evening in Cedar Park. The puck drops at 7:00 PM CST.
Injuries, scratches, and notes:
Scarlett, McNeill (scratch)
Tonight's attendance was 12,324.
AHL Gamesheet - Texas at San Antonio - February 2 2018